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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Giants round 9 preview: The expansion battle

The GWS Giants will start their journey away from home with a crucial battle against the improved Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 2 August.

A recent COVID spike in NSW saw the AFL move both the Giants and Sydney Swans out of Sydney before the Queensland Government shuts their borders on 1 August.

The relocation means that the Giants will stay in Queensland for their next two matches before travelling to Perth to stay in a hub there.

It also means that it is unlikely that any AFL will be played in NSW for the rest of the season, so the Giants will most likely be on the road until then.

The Giants come into this match with some confidence after a gritty victory over a wayward Richmond Tigers to keep them just one win outside the top eight in 12th spot on the ladder.

Toby Greene was the star of the night booting five goals up forward while Josh Kelly got his mojo back with a classy performance racking up 26 disposals and a goal.

Despite the win, the Giants still lost the inside 50 count comprehensively and were fortunate the Tigers couldn’t kick straight as they managed six goals and 14 behinds.

Getting the ball inside 50 consistently has been an issue all season for the Giants who are dead last in the AFL for inside 50s, averaging just 33.5 per match.

The Giants forward line of Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg is so talented they have managed to win games with little supply. But if the Giants are to consistently win games, they must find a way to get their forwards more of the ball.

Their opponents, the Suns, are a vastly improved side in 2020 and sit ahead of the Giants in 10th spot on the ladder.

They have no issue getting the ball inside 50, ranking fifth in the league at 43.6, so the Giants midfield will have to be on to stop their supply to a dangerous forward line including the likes of Alex Sexton, Ben King and superstar in the making Izak Rankine.

The Suns are coming off a heart-breaking five-point loss to the Bulldogs last round so will be keen to get back on the winners list.

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